NFL SHOTS FROM THE SHARIFF

Street Talk NFL SHOTS FROM THE SHARIFF

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The Difference Meter

I love home field advantage.  Vegas says it’s worth two points.  Teams wrestle for it during the regular season.  It provides an undeniable edge to the host team in search of that elusive championship.  Home field has the uncommon ability to unite an entire community for the sole purpose of elevating your team’s performance on any given day. 
 
My favorite sporting events growing up involved the Chicago Bulls, Buffalo Bills and the Minnesota Twins.  They weren’t necessarily my favorite teams, but their games were the most electric.  Why? It’s because of the old Chicago Stadium, Rich Stadium and the Metrodome.  They stood out.  Their fans were rabid and you could see players feeding off the atmosphere.  Twins fans sported the rally towels, Bills fans had 75,000 maniacs embracing the snow (shows you how much there is to do in Buffalo) and Chicago fans overwhelmed opponents with pure passion and noise. 
 
Every stadium makes an effort to stand out in their own unique way but in order to make a true impact, you must register on the difference meter.
 
The difference meter is comprised of three categories:  Noise, weather and the fear factor.  The first two categories speak for themselves.  The third applies to true fanatics.  Did you ever get the feeling on game day when you just knew your team was going to go into a visiting stadium and be completely overwhelmed?  There is no definable emotion.  It’s just a feeling you get.  It’s inborn and instinctive.  You have a hatred for their crowd and their stadium but as difficult as it is to admit, you respect them.  This is the stage where you have become one with your team.  These types of feelings may worry your friends but you care about as much as Tank Johnson on probation.    
 
The highest score you can receive in each category is a ten.  The lowest is a one.  It only makes sense that the teams qualifying for this list be current winning organizations.  It’s pretty hard to get the Dawg Pound fired up for game 12 of the season when the Browns have already been eliminated.  As you can see, I take this very seriously.  I have appalled friends by complaining about HD television because I can no longer differentiate the elite home crowds because of the supreme sound quality (I know, the straight-jacket is on the way). 
 
So the question is, who has the best home field advantage in the National Football League?  
 
It’s time to get out the calculator and see who lights up the difference meter.
 
Seattle Seahawks
 
Noise – 10
Weather – 7
Fear Factor – 8
 
Difference Meter Total: 25
 
Qwest is by far the loudest stadium in the league.  You know you bring the noise when other teams accuse you of filtering in artificial sound.  Factor in the never-ending precipitation and you have a home field advantage that has allowed Seattle to own the putrid NFC West.
 
Baltimore Ravens
 
Noise – 9
Weather – 7
Fear Factor – 9
 
Difference Meter Total: 25
 
Attending games at M&T Bank is a thrilling experience.  The fans are extremely knowledgeable, passionate and loyal.  The stadium is sick and the defense soaks up the energy.  Baltimore fans understand that innate feeling I described earlier.  There are stretches during home games where you absolutely know the opposing team’s offense is getting overwhelmed and the crowd is a huge reason why.
 
New England Patriots
 
Noise – 8
Weather – 10
Fear Factor – 8
 
Difference Meter Total: 26
 
When I think of Foxboro, the conditions of the “tuck rule game” immediately take over my brain.  The game had swirling winds, a snow covered turf and a biting cold (not to mention a BS rule that has yet to be changed).  The Pats versatility allows them to always dictate the style of play to their opponents.  But how many visiting teams can simulate the conditions of Gillette Stadium?  Don’t forget to overlook the mental disadvantage teams have competing against the NFL’s new school dynasty.   
 
Philadelphia Eagles
 
Noise – 8
Weather – 8
Fear Factor – 10
 
Difference Meter Total: 26
 
Giving any Philly stadium less than a ten on the fear factor scale is as crazy as Ron Artest.  The majority of the fans are violent morons and the Linc has their own court room for God’s sake.  I can validate these statements with one of my favorite clips of all-time: You Tube Eagles.
 
 
Chicago Bears
 
Noise – 8
Weather – 10
Fear Factor – 9
 
Difference Meter Total: 27
 
The winds in Chi-town play a major role in the fear factor category.  Like Rich Stadium in the 90’s, it’s obvious NOBODY wants to venture into the newest version of Soldier Field.  It doesn’t help walking onto the field only to find Brian Urlacher sleeveless in sub-zero temperatures.
 
Denver Broncos
 
Noise – 10
Weather – 10
Fear Factor – 8
 
Difference Meter Total: 28
 
Invesco Field doesn’t generate the same fear that Mile High once did.  For one, the team isn’t as successful compared to Elway’s final days.  A big part of home field is pushing your team to close in the postseason and that hasn’t happened often enough in Denver.  But the ground does shake and I’ve always wanted to believe in the thin air factor.  Mike Shanahan’s running game almost always gives them an edge in the snow and their fans are in the same category as Kansas City and the Cheeseheads.

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Shan Shariff

About Shan Shariff

Shan Shariff is a Sports Talk host and Program Director for Delmarva’s ESPN Radio 1240 in Cambridge, MD.  He is recognized for his interviewing skills and ability to attack a subject from a number of different angles.  He has interviewed the likes of Jim Brown, John Wooden, Red Aurebach, Oscar Robertson, Brooks Robinson and Earl Weaver.  Shan is a native of Maryland and attended college at American University in Washington, DC.  While there, he interned for the George Michael Sports Machine and traveled back and forth to Salisbury, MD for television experience at WMDT Channel 47.  After graduating, Shan did play-by-play and color for the Rockford Lightning of the Continental Basketball Association.
Shan gets made fun of constantly for winning a state tennis championship in mixed doubles although he openly admits to not being good enough to win one by himself.  If you want to harass Shan regarding his love for the Redskins and Lakers, tune in Monday-Friday from 10am-1pm on Delmarva’s ESPN Radio AM 1240.

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